Drought hastens decline of the Joshua tree, California’s desert symbol.

If drought conditions continue, modeling suggests Joshua trees will lose 90% of range in 800,000-acre park.

This article is from the Los Angeles Times written by Louis Sahagun;  he is a staff writer at the Los Angeles Times. He covers issues ranging from religion, culture and the environment to crime, politics and water. Louis Sahagun

Wildlife officials are trying to assess effects of climate change on Joshua trees and the species they harbor.
With funding from federal wildlife officials, DR. CAMERON BARROWS, Associate Research Ecologist, University of California Riverside, is trying to
find ways to assess the effects of climate change on Joshua trees
and the many species they shelter: yucca moths, skipper butterflies,
termites, ants, desert night lizards, kangaroo rats and 20 species
of birds including Scott’s orioles, ladder-backed woodpeckers and
great horned owls.

There is more at stake than the fate of the park’s
estimated 2.5 million Joshua trees, said biologist
Rebecca R. Hernandez, a post-doctoral fellow at UC

Berkeley. “Beyond its importance as a critical
refuge for desert species, the Joshua tree
a cultural signature of California’s desert landscape,”
Hernandez said.

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About the Joshua Tree